Dee’s Orphan Kitten Fund in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, received their first grant from PetSmart Charities last year. The $9,500 grant allowed the group to sterilize five free-roaming colonies, 115 cats total, preventing the start of three more colonies in the Sooke region of Greater Victoria.
The group reports there were three tame, pregnant females that were found close to the colonies that were put into foster homes. Upon weaning, the kittens and their moms were all sterilized and adopted into new homes. Another semi-tame cat, found with serious health issues, was also placed in a new home.
While the project may sound simple, the Dee’s Orphan Kitten Fund had special challenges not usually faced by agencies in more urban communities. With cats capable of reproducing up to three litters per year, it would be easy to see how quickly a colony could grow and encroach on neighbors.
“We had a local farmer who left the feral cats alone, but reportedly bagged up the kittens from a colony on his property and drowned them,” says Natalie Kroschinsky, founder of Dee’s Orphan Kitten Fund. “It was just horrible. Thankfully, this grant allowed us to talk to him and get him to agree to let us sterilize the 17 cats in this colony and pull all the kittens to re-home them. He has allowed the colony to remain on his property, so long as they don’t reproduce. We watch the colony carefully.”
As a result, Dee’s Orphan Kitten Fund says only 90 kittens were taken in by their local animal care services compared to the 134 the year before.